My performance in WODs and strength has increased ten-fold! I have been PRing left and right!
I am more alert through the middle of the workday.
I’ve definitely noticed a difference in body mass as well, getting leaner!
I felt like I could sustain the energy
I noticed a significant increase in stamina during AMRAPs and 15+ min WODs
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Fall 2015 Nutrition Challenge! This was our twelfth Nutrition Challenge, and you can find past results here:
- Nutrition Challenge #1
- Nutrition Challenge #2
- Nutrition Challenge #3
- Nutrition Challenge #4
- Nutrition Challenge #5
- Nutrition Challenge #6
- Nutrition Challenge #7
- Nutrition Challenge #8
- Nutrition Challenge #9
- Nutrition Challenge #10
- Nutrition Challenge #11
Below you will find some before and after photos and testimonials from those who completed all eight weeks of the Fall Nutrition Challenge 2015. I am really proud of the hard work everyone put in – it’s not easy to stay consistent during football and wedding season! You all approached it with an open mind and a willingness to make positive changes. Big congratulations go out to all of the competitors from our gym.
Like all years, it’s always a difficult task to pick winners. We consider a lot of factors when choosing a winner, from communication and ability to uphold the guidelines during the challenge, to before and after results based on the measurements, and benefits that go beyond just physical looks and measurements.
We chose 3 winners this year, although it was extremely difficult to choose! Matt, Hassan, and Jaclyn are the winners of this year’s challenge. Matt was extremely diligent and consistent with his diet and work outs, and it paid off after only 8 short weeks. Jaclyn had been eating paleo leading up to the challenge, and over the course of a few months dropped 30+ pounds! I think the challenge helped her find some new energy/balance and make a break-through with her diet. Hassan was also very diligent about his diet and tracking, and is proof that with the right balance you can lean out while eating MORE food. All the other finishers also had some amazing results, so congratulations to everyone!
Congratulations again to everyone!!
Since I have been eating paleo for a while now, I joined this challenge so I could be closer to the C’Ville community. I really wasn’t doing the challenge to lose weight or lean out. I gained a lot of muscle, A LOT. I love that though! It was what I was aiming for. I was trying to see how I could gain muscle while still eating paleo, and I did just that!
My performance in WODs and strength has increased ten-fold! I have been PRing left and right! My clean and jerk went up 15lbs; my snatch went up 20lbs; I can squat 170lbs for 20 reps. It’s been amazing!!!
Though I still get tired around 2:30 (don’t think that will ever change), my energy levels in class and at the box have increased a lot. I am much happier about school and life in general. Because of the challenge and my 6 AM WODs, my body is now used to going to sleep early even though everyone in my dorm is up until 2 AM. I definitely now have a clear routine, and I’m sticking to it.
Paleo is hard, but if I can do it in college, anyone can! You can put your mind to anything, and you will achieve it. This challenge reaffirmed my love for paleo!
I really like cooking, but the taking the time to prepare and shop has always been a huge hurdle. I used the cooksmarts.com site to great benefit, reducing the planning stage down to a few minutes and a couple of button clicks. The other thing that help me was learning what I can buy frozen and in bulk and where to shop. Places like Costco offers great natural wild caught seafood that is frozen. Then I found that Trader Joe’s has great quality, but less selection than whole foods, so I pick up a lot of items there. Finally whole foods fills in the niche items. This approach allows me to lower the grocery bill at least compared to shopping entirely at whole foods, without sacrificing quality of food.
I was still pretty new to CrossFit when the challenge began, but had already had pretty fantastic results – dropping almost 20 pounds by the time the challenge started. By tracking macros, I was able to understand HOW the food I ate affected my performance. I had already switched to paleo two months prior, but didn’t have a good handle on what to eat/why/when. As a chef, there was the additional challenge of making sure I was eating enough – I’m used to grazing all day, but the first two weeks I really struggled with eating nutritionally dense food that hit my macro numbers. Once I settled in, though, I really noticed a difference in my energy – and no longer felt like I was “eating too much.” From the workouts perspective, being able to do push-ups, pull-ups and more things that I never would have thought I could do has been so inspiring – and keeps me coming back for more every single week.
My energy levels skyrocketed during the tracking period, and I was feeling much better during and after the workouts. I’ve made a greater effort to get to bed early and up to the gym early every day. I noticed that the weekends when I had several events and less sleep, that I was still able to bounce back SO MUCH BETTER than before. Five-wedding-weekends didn’t leave me utterly and completely spent – instead, I was back at the gym Monday morning!
I’m excited to keep up with the overall principles of the challenge – nutritionally dense foods, watching macro ratios and continuing my CrossFit journey.
Doing this challenge has definitely been a great experience. The best part, is that I have definitely appreciated my food, and cooking a lot more in the past 8 weeks. It has become a process that I thoroughly enjoy and is actually relaxing. Nothing beats coming home and cooking some good food that not only tastes good, but makes me feel good. I have learned a new way to approach food and snacking throughout the day, and have a new found love for almonds and grapes! I feel like going back to basics with paleo made me realize how much I don’t need all the extra’s in my diet like processed grains, and sugar, and I feel like this is a lifestyle we could maintain as a family.
It felt like I lost more weight than the numbers indicated at the start and end of the challenge. Regardless, I still leaned out. I didn’t lose enough to change pant sizes (down from 32″ down to 31″) but I did need a belt and my shirts fit noticeably better. Also, abs and hip bones popped out from hibernation which was validation enough for me in terms of the scale not moving too much.
This week’s recipe is a submission from Lauren B. and has been burning a hole in my inbox for a few weeks now, so I’m glad to finally get to post it! Thanks to Lauren for putting her spin on this recipe from the Food Network Website.
“Somehow I stumbled upon this recipe for pumpkin SOUP and thought, “That sounds really gross. Why do I want to make this…”. But I did, and it actually turned out AMAZING. I used dried spices (sage & italian herbs) and it was just fine. ”
-Words of encouragement from Lauren🙂
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 leek, washed and sliced into rounds
3 pounds fresh pumpkin flesh/1 small pie pumpkin **roast your pumpkin for 1 hr @ 350ish, scoop out flesh and use here**
2 teaspoons salt
3 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
1 sprig sage
2 to 3 sprigs parsley
1 sprig thyme
1/2 to 3/4 pound fresh sweet Italian sausage
In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin, salt and bay leaves and saute until starting to soften. Add the chicken broth and herbs. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender and broth is just beginning to thicken slightly. Once the pumpkin is tender, discard the herbs and puree the soup using an immersion blender.In a medium saute pan, brown the sausage. Using a slotted spoon remove the sausage from the pan and drain on paper towel. Top the soup with the sausage.
This is a favorite recipe for us when we’re in the mood for a burger and fries. While I prefer to cook this up during the summer months out on the grill, frying up your beef (or turkey) burger patties in a pan certainly will work just fine. On that note, feel free to use your “burger” of choice here – for these pictures I got some grass fed ground beef from JM Stock Provisions and made some very simply seasoned quarter pounders.
In this recipe I’m making a warm bacon vinaigrette and caramelizing my peppers and onions; however, you can feel free to use a dressing of choice and any combination of raw/cooked vegetables that you like.
For the tostones, we buy them as green/yellow as we can get them because we prefer them to be more starchy than sweet. In this context, we’re using them as a potato substitute rather than a dessert treat. If your tastes are different, feel free to go the more ripe direction🙂
Burger in a Bowl with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette (for 2):
Salad Greens (I love spinach, or 50/50 Spinach/Spring Mix for this)
4 Strips Bacon
1 Small Onion, 3/4 sliced, 1/4 chopped fine
1 Red Pepper, sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped fine
1 tsp dijon mustard
- Rinse and dry salad greens, set aside in a large bowl.
- In a large (preferably heavy) skillet, fry up the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels while reserving the rendered fat. Reserve about 2 Tbs of the fat in the pan and transfer the rest to another container.
- Set heat to medium and add the chopped onion to the pan and saute until translucent.
- Add the chopped garlic to the pan and saute until fragrant (~30 seconds).
- Deglaze the pan with cider vinegar, approximately as much volume as fat in the pan (~2 Tbs). Be sure to scrape up as many of the brown bits as possible, stirring constantly.
- Stir in dijon mustard and thoroughly combine.
Reserve this bacon vinaigrette in a ramekin or bowl and set aside (you’ll want to microwave it to warm it back up before adding to your salad).
- Return reserved bacon fat to the pan and add enough coconut oil to make about 1.5 Tbs.
- Reduce heat to low and add sliced peppers and onions. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are nicely caramelized and softened. Remove and set aside.
- Return heat to medium and cook your burgers to desired temperature.
When the burgers are done, microwave or otherwise warm the vinaigrette. Add as much as you prefer to the salad greens and toss to combine (I used about the whole thing for two large salads). Plate the salad, placing the burger on top and then finishing with caramelized vegetables and crispy bacon. Enjoy!
Plantains (approximately 1 per person)
- Heat your largest skillet on medium/high heat with about 2 Tbs coconut oil.
- Meanwhile, peel and slice the plantains in to 1/4 inch slices.
- Add plantains to hot oil (you may need to reduce to medium heat) and fry until golden on both sides.
- Remove and drain plantains. Using the bottom of a glass or mug, smash the plantain pieces into thinner medallions:
Add more coconut oil to the pan as needed. In batches, return the newly smashed plantain pieces to the pan and cook, again browning on both sides. As they are done, drain on a paper towel and immediately season with salt and pepper (they will stick better while there is still some hot oil on the plantains). Serve alongside the burger bowls, or just as is!
If you would like to time these two recipes to come out together, I suggest prepping the plantains while the peppers and onions are cooking. To fully cook two plantains takes a little longer than cooking up two beef burgers, so if you start to fry the plantains you can start the burgers around the same time and you should be OK:
Special thanks to Lex for her expert tostones skills! Usually we tag-team this meal and I’ll make the salad while she’s making tostones. This definitely makes the timing a little easier as you can get both done at the same time while still having a watchful eye on the level of doneness.
That’s all for the first post of the new year! Please keep the submissions coming and I’ll do my best to keep these posts on a regular schedule. As always, have fun and enjoy!
This recipe is a great way to enjoy fresh tasting brussel sprouts with some cold weather flavors. If you don’t have bulk sausage you can also uncase links and brown the meat just as easily. Also, feel free to scare your family members with beet juice-covered hands🙂
Bulk Sausage, 1-1.5 pounds (I prefer a spicy Chorizo, Andouille, or Italian)
Brussel Sprouts, about 3 cups
Beets, 2-3 large
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
For the brussel sprouts, remove stems and cut into halves. Without the stems the leaves will easily fall off, but for this recipe that’s the goal. This prep step can take some patience, but it will significantly reduce the toughness and cooking time if the brussel sprouts are reduced in size.
Peel and dice beets into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast 30-45 minutes until fork tender, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, add bulk sausage to a large pan on medium-high heat and cook through, stirring frequently until browned. Once sausage is cooked, stir one last time and reduce heat to medium-low. Add brussel sprout leaves and cover for 5-10 minutes, until leaves are bright green and softened. At this point, toss sausage and sprout together and keep on low heat, partially covered until your beets are done.
Serve up on a plate and enjoy!
“I made it again, but I ate it all before I could take a picture, it’s that good!” -Jess
Our recipe post today comes from Jess Fink. Thanks very much to her for sending this in almost immediately after the announcement that the recipe posts would be starting up again. The above quote was direct from her at yesterday’s Christmas party🙂
I made this today:
I love having quick, healthy snacks at the ready during the week, but purchasing enough fruit and nut bars to last Lex and I can add up. I wanted to try to make my own, especially considering that our favorites only list 2-3 ingredients. With less than $10 spent on pitted dates and roasted cashew pieces at C’Ville Market I was able to make 16 large bars with only about 20 minutes of work. Another perk of making these at home is experimenting with new flavors!
Recipe (by weight):
3 parts Roasted, Unsalted Cashew Pieces (I’ve also used almonds or hazelnuts)
8 parts Pitted Dates
Pinch of sea salt
Use a food scale to measure out ingredients, then use a food processor to combine the dates and nuts:
Test the consistency by pressing some of the mixture in your hand; if you can form a small ball by compressing the mix then you’re good to go! At this point you can stop and proceed to making cashew nut bars, or you can add some additional flavors to your own taste. Some examples:
Pumpkin Spice Bars:
Your Favorite Pumpkin Spice Seasoning
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 Parts Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Part Finely Ground Coffee (or instant coffee crystals)
Add spice or cocoa powder and coffee to taste, pulsing a few times with each addition to distribute evenly. I tend to add about 1 tablespoon at a time until I’m happy with the flavor.
To Form Bars:
Empty mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and press into a solid ball. Shape the mixture into a roughly rectangular shape, then cover with additional parchment paper and use a rolling pin to smooth to an even height of about 1/4-1/2 an inch (if making pumpkin spice bars, press pumpkin seeds into the top for some added crunch):
Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until firm (approximately 1-2 hours or longer), then use a sharp knife to cut into desired bar size. Store these in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator, and enjoy!